What opinions does George have about women, and why would American men wish to avoid women?Why do men seek the company of other men over that of women?  (in his critical text 'love and death in...

What opinions does George have about women, and why would American men wish to avoid women?

Why do men seek the company of other men over that of women?  (in his critical text 'love and death in the american novel', leslie fiedler makes the point that in american fiction, men are running away from women towards other men, and towards death.)

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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In Of Mice and Men, men are depicted as animals as part of Steinbeck's anthropomorphism, Social Darwinism, socialism, and Pragmatism.  His biological view of mankind holds that men are uber-competetive in a all-male capitalistic workplace with limited resources, as conditions were on ranches in California during the Great Depression.  So, these males compete to be the Alpha male, like Curley, and they hoard, pick fights with lower-class males, and flaunt their status as part of some paranoid defense mechanism.  In short, they puff themselves up like some little animal that wants to be seen as more threatening than it really is.

The men in Of Mice and Men compete over jobs but not women.  The two seem mutually exclusive.  George tells Lennie to stay away from Curley's wife as soon as he sees her.  In terms of mythological and archetypal criticism, women are all temptresses, like Sirens in The Odyssey.  They are threats to a man's job.  As such, they are to be avoided.  George and Lennie have already seen the affects of this: the woman in Weed cried rape, which sent George and Lennie on the run, fired from their jobs, further from their American dream.

George would rather go to a cathouse and get rid of all his pent up emotions all at once rather than waste two words on a woman.  When jobs and dreams are on the line in a patriarchal all-male society, a woman only prevents a male from achievement.  Could George's fear of women be a backlash against the pre-feminism movement?

In the end, the American Dream is as much a temptress as a woman.  It is a red herring, an illusion, a false promise for the little guys like George, Lennie, and Candy.  The Alpha males control is like their women.  The only ones with any sense, who avoid both, are Crooks and Slim.  They are the working class heroes who are tied to the land, their work, and the Marxist dream.

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